Commercials show us happy women spraying down their counters with chemical cleaners with a smile on their face and magical "sparkles" swirling over the area they wipe. Women then buy these products thinking they are getting their kitchens really clean.
But chemical cleaners are not edible so they should never be used to clean an area where they will come in contact with our food. Microwave interiors, stove tops, cutting boards and especially countertops all need to be cleaned with edible cleaning ingredients - lemons, baking soda and white vinegar are my favorites because they work the best.
To clean the interior of your microwave:
1. Fill a glass measuring cup with water and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.
2. Heat and let boil for 5 minutes and wipe out the inside with paper toweling. The exterior can be cleaned with pure vinegar and a sponge.
Three ways to clean and disinfect a kitchen sponge:
1. Run it in the dishwasher with the dishes OR
2. Microwave it for one minute in the microwave OR
3. Place it in an empty sink and slowly pour a kettle of boiling water over it.
To clean your countertops:
Fill a spray bottle with pure vinegar and keep handy near the kitchen sink. Mist all over counters and wipe clean with paper towels, kitchen dish cloth or sponge.
To clean your garbage disposal:
To clean grease and leftover food from your disposal and sharpen the blades at teh same time, sprinkle baking soda liberally into the disposal drain and pour vinegar over it until it foams over. Let set for 10 minutes. Rinse with hot water. Put 2 or 3 ice cubes down the disposal and grind. Rinse again with hot water.
To clean your coffee maker:
At least once a month, fill the carafe half with water and half with white vinegar. Fill the resevoir and turn the unit on. Repeat one or two more times if you have some lime and calcium build-up from hard water. Run a pot of clean water through at least twice to remove all traces of the vinegar and any deposits it loosened.
So ditching the chemical cleaners or saving them for really tough jobs unrelated to freshly made food will help keep your home cleaner AND healthier!